Feeling stressed? Try eating a banana

News about the Clinton Seniors' Association, and a few tips to help you de-stress.

Be Happy‑

Enjoy every moment of your life . . .

Life is too short to waste on grudges . . .

Laugh when you can,

Apologize when you should,

And let go of what you can’t change.

Author unknown

 

I hope that you are enjoying the summer! Welcome to newcomers to Clinton; if you’re a senior you might like to consider joining our Association. We meet on the third Thursday of every month except July and August at the Clinton Seniors’ Association Centre near Reg Conn Park at 217 Smith Avenue.

Our meeting follows a 12:00 noon lunch, which will be potluck on Sept. 17. The annual membership fee is $15.00, and we have three fundraisers a year, beginning with the Daffodil Tea in March, with part of the proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society. A yard sale is held at the Centre on July 1, and a marketplace event is held in November at the Clinton Memorial Hall.

Thank you to everyone who helped in any way, or came out to support the July 1 yard sale, which was a great success. Congratulations to Bill Bisat and Susan Rose, winners of the Peel ‘n’ Pay Raffle!

Continuing on with our twelve months of wellness, let’s talk a little about stress and how to de-stress. Most people know from little clues when they are getting stressed. Maybe it’s a quickening heartbeat or a slight feeling of nausea to let you know you are getting anxious or overwhelmed. Sometimes it doesn’t take too much to get your stress hormones pumping and your blood pressure rising: but you do have the power to reset.

When we’re stressed, hormones flood our systems, producing a response in which one’s heart rate goes up, we breathe more heavily (requiring more oxygen), and our blood vessels constrict. Not all stress is “bad stress”, like a chance meeting with a wild animal animal while camping out, or a huge traffic jam on the highway. Shopping for a new outfit or planning a vacation can cause those negative feelings too. Our stress response is triggered even when there’s no imminent danger.

Stress can contribute to chronic conditions like hypertension and headaches, as well as mental health concerns like depression and anxiety disorders. What’s more, it can make other conditions—like asthma, irritated bowel syndrome, and insomnia—worse.

So, what is one to do to handle stress of any kind? Just as we have a stress response, we also have a “relaxation response” during which our breathing slows, our blood pressure decreases, and we use less oxygen. We don’t really have a choice when it comes to getting stressed; but we do have a choice how we react to it, and we might learn how to undo its effects. Some of these ideas may work for you.

When faced with stress, start by taking a few deep breaths and slowing down your response. This can help release the tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen. Shallow breathing, a marker of stress, stimulates the nervous system, while deep breathing helps us to calm down. Occasions of stress are not usually life threatening situations, so you can step back and assess the scenario.

Visualize a relaxed response. Make yourself comfortable if you’re able, and try to picture a peaceful scene, a favourite spot, or a future vacation. You can even see yourself accomplishing a future goal.

If you can, go for a short walk to help clear your head and refocus. A walk in a park or other green space can put your body in a reflective, meditative state and bring about a feeling of peace and self control.

Have a nourishing snack. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress, so some people find that eating a banana, which is high in potassium, can help improve energy and recovery. Go and sit down somewhere peaceful and eat your snack slowly, contemplating the way it tastes, its texture, and how it makes you feel.

According to a study at Washington State University, researchers found that people who have houseplants in their homes or work place are calmer and have lower blood pressure. Being around plants can induce your relaxation response.

If your job or pastime involves the use of a computer, frequent breaks away from the screen are recommended. Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, lost sleep, and depression. Music you love can soothe everyday anxiety. Classical music, particularly, has a soothing effect. It slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and even decreases levels of stress hormones. Try humming or singing a favourite tune.

Chewing gum may relieve anxiety and improve your alertness, while a good laugh can help relax you and defuse a stress response. Consciously relaxing your muscles from your toes upward can help relieve stress, and yoga and exercise will restore that sense of well-being.

Repetitive motion, like knitting or needlework, can offset anxiety. Repetition of a sound, a word, prayer, or movement, and the passive setting aside of intruding thoughts and returning to the repetitive activity, can be very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.

To what extent you can, surround yourself with a “positive” environment. Avoid people and places where negative situations are likely to arise.

There are no birthdays to celebrate in August.

Zee Chevalier

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